Really Fine or Faking It?

How often do you stop and take time to find out what is really going on in your friends’ or co-workers lives? When you ask and they reply with the standard “Ok” or  “Fine”, are they really fine or just faking it?

When we saw our friends, neighbors and colleagues face to face or talked to them on the telephone every day, it was easy to know if they were really fine or just faking it.  Subtle body language cues, sighs, pauses, facial expressions could give us clues to how they really were.

The rise of social media has definitely made it more difficult and so much more necessary to take the time to really find out what is going on with our friends, neighbors and co-workers.  We are all guilty of assuming that the person posting the positive messages really feels that way.  Or are they trying to talk themselves into it?   In the midst of all their optimistic sounding posts, did you pay attention to the one short post that says they are hurting or need help or just need someone to care? How often do you notice when someone goes social media silent for a while and actually follow up to see if they are ok?

We all have busy lives and social media posts fly by us at the speed of the internet, but maybe we need to find a way to slow down and pay more attention.   The shortest message or a kind smile can be the difference that someone might need to make it through whatever is going on in their lives.

This is a season, no matter your religion, of family, loved ones, friends, kindness, compassion and peace…maybe it is a good time to start paying more attention.  On that list of New Year resolutions that you may or may not be making, maybe we need to include one that says pay a little more attention, reach out a little more and maybe we also need to quit faking it ourselves and be more open and honest, especially with the people who care about us.  I know both of those will be on my list of changes for the New Year. 

Twitter Tales

For her blogaversary Conversation Agent, Valeria Maltoni, asked her readers to submit their Twitter Tales.  She asked us to “write a short post describing how a connection you made on Twitter, first, lead you to an opportunity and opened new horizons”.   While I have many, many Twitter tales of deep and lasting friendships and professional relationships that have developed from chance meetings on Twitter.  There are a few that stand out as examples of how small and connected our world truly has become and how wide we make it when we reach out to those we encounter on Twitter.

Here is a link to my Twitter Tale…..

http://redstaplerconsulting.net/2009/09/14/twitter-tales/

I’d love to hear yours!

Community & the Quality of Our Relationships

This is a reprint of a post I wrote in June 2008, but I feel that the message is especially relevant for me and a lot of others right now.  So here it is again.

Sometimes things come to us in such a timely manner, that it restores our faith in the patterns of the universe.  After having ignored my GoogleReader for several days (way too many, don’t even ask how long!)  I started to wade through through the massive amount of reading I had in front of me.   As usual, when I have built it up to that lovely 1000+  (you have to love when it is so many that they will intimidate you with 1000+ and not really tell you how many there are!) that GR intimindatingly shows me I have failed to keep up on, I’m skimming subjects and titles.  In my haste to clear, I almost skipped over this particular post, but something drew me back.  Not only because it was Gary V, but something about the title resonated with some of my recent musings.

http://garyvaynerchuk.com/2008/06/05/when-do-you-know-you-have-a-community/

Gary talks about when you know you have a Community (yes capital “C”).   Now, I’m not sure that I can ever be as eloquent as Gary, but I’d like to think I share his passion.  His focus is on the social media crowd, but I think his message can be expanded to many aspects of our lives.  He reminds us all that community = communication!  If you are having a dialogue with just one person, you have a Community.

Gary’s words reinforced things that have been occurring to me lately.  I’m in the process of making a Major move and Major changes in my life.  In preparing to make these changes, I have been evaluating the roles that various people play in my life. When Gary talks about needing to remember that it does not matter how many Twitter followers or blog readers, it made me remember that it does not matter how many friends I have collected, how many colleagues admire me, how many business associates I have contacts with.  It is about the quality of these relationships. Now, I will admit that sometimes I get lost in believing that the more people I am able to surround myself with, the more people there are to make me happy, to reinforce the positives about myself, in general just to affirm my existence.    Occasionally it is nice to be reminded that I don’t need anyone to affirm me.   What I need is myself and the positive power of a good Community.   And Gary has reminded me of that. He has reminded me that I not only need myself, I need good dialogue with a single person and I have a solid Community.

I’m one of the lucky ones, I’ve realized that I have a lot of people in my Community, good people, solid people, smart people, caring and inspiring people.  From the people I love, my family, my close friends, some business associates, my Twitter  peeps and the sweet people who take the time to read this, I’m blessed with this Community.

Who says Twitter relationships are not real?

I write this through tears that are clouding my vision.   I received news today of the passing of one of my Twitter peeps @lilyhill.  While “Lily” (Roberta Frazier) and I never had the chance to meet face to face, we did share some lovely conversations and I always looked forward to seeing what she had to say.  In some ways it seems odd to feel the profound sadness that has come over me at the passing of someone I really had never “met”.  But, I do feel a deep sadness.  A sadness for Roberta’s family – my heart aches at the thought of her daughter having to type that final tweet from her mother’s account – A sadness at a life lost way too early; A slightly selfish sadness that I will no longer be able to avail myself of Roberta’s wit and wisdom.  And an even more selfish sadness at the reality of my own mortality.

What strikes me even more is that I am feeling this deep sadness for a person that I only knew electronically.  There are people who try and claim that the relationships we develop through Twitter are not “real”.  They are a result of snippets of information that we chose to share with the world and have no basis in the deep understanding necessary for true relationships. I say they are wrong!  In the almost 2 years that I have been on Twitter I have been blessed to interact with people all over the world that I now truly call FRIENDS.  Some I have met in person and some I have not, but that does not lessen the feelings I have for these people.  Some of the people I now consider my dearest friends, that I consider my extended family, I met on Twitter.

The bits and pieces of our lives that we daily share with each other on Twitter are the building blocks for those relationships.  The times that we laugh together, support each other, educate one another, just chat, share virtual hugs, share wisdom & insight and on days like today, cry together. This is what builds those relationships.  It is wonderful when proximity allows us to translate those into “real life” friendships, but I don’t feel any less for those I am close to on Twitter who are in Florida, Missouri, California or Australia than I do for those right here in my own beloved Philadelphia.  I can feel their love, kindness, support and caring as strongly as if they were sitting here next to me.  Twitter has allowed me to grow beyond my own little geographical world.  It has allowed me to touch and be touched by the power of people from everywhere. For that I am eternally grateful.  I wrote “An Open Letter to My Tweeple” back in February 2008 describing what Twitter meant to me.  Those thoughts and feelings are amplified exponentially with each day that I spend engaging in conversations and interacting with my community on Twitter.

So to those who would say these relationships are not real – I on behalf of the Twitterverse say you are very, very wrong.  The sadness I feel right this moment at the passing of @lilyhill is proof.

Community & the quality of our relationships

Sometimes things come to us in such a timely manner, that it restores our faith in the patterns of the universe.  After having ignored my ReadBurner & GoogleReader for several days (way too many, don't even ask how long!)  I started to wade through through the massive amount of reading I had in front of me.   As usual, when I have built it up to that lovely 1000+  (you have to love when it is so many that they will intimidate you with 1000+ and not really tell you how many there are!) I'm skimming subjects and titles.  In my haste to clear, I almost skipped over this particular post, but something drew me back.  Not only because it was Gary V, but something about the title resonated with some of my recent musings. 

http://garyvaynerchuk.com/2008/06/05/when-do-you-know-you-have-a-community/

Gary talks about when you know you have a Community (yes capital "C").   Now, I'm not sure that I can ever be as eloquent as Gary, but I'd like to think I share his passion.  His focus is on the social media crowd, but I think his message can be expanded to relationships in all of the varied aspects of our lives.  He reminds us all that community = Communication!  If you are having a dialogue with just one person, you have a Community.  

Gary's words reinforced some of things that have been occurring to me lately.  I'm in the process of making a Major move and Major changes in my life.  In preparing to make these changes, I have been evaluating the roles that various people play in my life. When Gary talks about needing to remember that it does not matter how many Twitter followers or blog readers, it made me remember that it does not matter how many friends I have collected, how many colleagues admire me, how many business associates I have contacts with.  It is about the quality of these relationships.  Now, I will admit that sometimes I get lost in believing that the more people I am able to surround myself with, the more people there are to make me happy, to reinforce the positives about myself, in general just to affirm my existence.    Occasionally it is nice to be reminded that I don't need anyone to affirm me.   What I need is myself and the positive power of a good Community.   And Gary has reminded me of that. He has reminded me that I not only need myself, I only need good, supportive dialogue with a single person and I have a solid Community.    

I'm one of the lucky ones, I've realized that I have a lot of people in my Community, good people, solid people, smart people, caring and inspiring people.  From the people I love, my family, my close friends, some business associates, my Twitter  peeps and the sweet people who take the time to read this, I'm blessed with this Community.   I have communications with them that range for the soulful to the silly, but in all of these, one thing is prevalent, these are people who in some aspect or another bring something to my life.  Education, entertainment, love, compassion, support and sometimes, even the occasional disagreement (which I usually need to wake myself up to something I need to pay more attention to!).   It is nice to not have to reduce my Community to a single person, it would be so hard to chose.  Instead, I chose to be grateful that I have these amazing people as a part of my life and that I get to have this amazing Ccommunication!  So BIG thanks to Gary for reminding me what my Community means to me, what it really is all about and why it is so important to nuture it. 

So I leave with you a couple of questions.  Who makes up your Community?  What are you doing to foster the communication that truly translate into a Community? And most importantly, how often do you let that Community know what they mean to you?  

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I am a Military Brat ….

This was passed on to me by an Army Brat friend. It so clearly expresses what is in my heart also

I am a Military Brat

My hometown is nowhere, my friends are everywhere. I grew up with the knowledge that home is where the heart is and the family….

Mobility is my way of life. Some would wonder about roots, yet they are as deep and strong as the mighty oak. I sink them quickly, absorbing all an area offers and hopefully, giving enrichment in return.

Travel has taught me to be open. Shaking hands with the universe, I find brotherhood in all men. Farewells are never easy. Yet, even in sorrow comes strength and ability to face tomorrow with anticipation….if when we leave one place, I feel that half my world is left behind. I also know that the other half is waiting to be met.

Friendships are formed in hours and kept for decades. I will never grow up with someone, but I will mature with many. Be it inevitable that paths part, there is constant hope that they will meet again.

Love of country, respect and pride fill my being when Old Glory passes in review. When I stand to honor that flag, so also do I stand in honor of all soldiers, and most especially, to the parents whose lives created mine. Because of this, I have shared in the rich heritage of Military life.


Anonymous

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Important things I’ve heard/read/been reminded of lately

Life is too short to wake up with regrets. So love the people who treat you right. Forget about the one's who don't. Believe everything happens for a reason.. If you get a second chance, grab it with both hands.  If it changes your life, let it.  Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it. Friends are like balloons; once you let them go, you can't get them back.

What you do today is important because you are paying a day of your life for it.  What you accomplish must be worthwhile because the price is high.

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

Do Not make people a priority who only make you an option.

I hold to the rather old-fashioned belief that each of us is blessed with particular gifts given to us by God, and that it is our sacred obligation to identify, to cherish and to exercise those gifts for the betterment of ourselves and of those in our lives. (Dr. Phil)

The only time is now and the choice is yours.

Remember: If it is important to you, then it's important, period.

To have someone say to you – "No matter what life brings your love is always there" – is one of the greatest compliment yous can ever receive.

Life should be like the planet, ever slowly moving, ever slowly evolving, always, always with the promise of a bright new day ahead.

Work like you don't need the money, love like you've never been hurt, dance like no one is watching, sing as if no one is listening and live every day as if it were your last.

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